Saturday, March 19, 2011

Last Time

Went out for a hot dog from Costco the other day. I'd had Costco's pizza many times, but never a hot dog. It was all right. Pretty big. $1.50 includes drink. Condiments are help yourself, including relish and onions.

I tried to remember the last time I had a hot dog. It probably wasn't that long ago. I've probably had dozens of hot dogs just over the last decade. Hundreds even? Erm, maybe? I don't keep count. But whenever I think "hot dog" and "last time," I go back, not to the forgettable actual last time, but to a specific memory from many years ago.

It was probably about twenty years ago. My family was staying with a friend of my mother's in the Bay Area. For lunch, my brother and I had microwaved hot dogs at this friend's home with her two sons. Don't remember the brand. They were good but nothing special.

Later that day, we went out walking (sightseeing?). Don't remember where we went or what we saw. I vaguely recall a museum, but that doesn't seem entirely likely, since I've never been much of a museum person. Maybe we just walked by a museum or museum-like building. But I remember we stopped at a hot dog vendor on the way. Our host's two sons decided to get hot dogs from this street vendor. All the fixin's, including relish, which I used to think was gross.

I remember thinking it very odd that they were stopping randomly to get hot dogs off the street. Just the impulse fooding seemed a foreign concept to me, not something I ever personally considered. But to go for such a cheap food as hot dogs, which could easily be had with little preparation at home, and which we, in fact, had had earlier that very day. It did not seem sensible.

But I was not above trying new things. I shrugged, went along with the others, and had another hot dog. No relish.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Living the Dream

It is maybe ten, maybe twenty, maybe even forty years in the future, though I do not feel physically any older. My life is much the same as well, with one major difference: there is no one else in the world but me.

And yet I do not alter my routine in any way. I go to the same workplace every day that I do now, although, in this future, it is completely abandoned. There are no people inside, no cars in the parking lot, not even any security personnel. Yet somehow I am still able to get inside. My keycard still unlocks all the doors. The lights are on inside. I go to my desk and turn on the computer, which still runs, for some reason. But there's no one to actually assign me any work, so I just sit at my desk and wait.

This being a dream, there is no proper observance of the passage of time, and though my body rests for only eight hours, it feels infinitely longer for my sleeping self. In the dream, I sit there for hours, day after day, for what feels like years. What am I waiting for? I don't think the question ever even occurs to me. In the dream, it all just seems to make sense to me. This is my life.

When my “shift” ends, I go home, just as I do now in my real life. The house is also empty. There are no messages. I sit and wait some more. The process repeats, day after day, as it does now in my real life.

Yes, it goes on for years. Then, randomly, someone else finally shows up at work. She walks by toward her old desk, then, a few seconds later, is headed back out. As she's leaving, she notices me. She smiles and tells me she came to pick up her jacket (left there years ago?). I notice that she's accompanied by a small child. She introduces him as her son. Or maybe it was her grandson, although she herself looks exactly the same as she does today. I never say a word, but I wave. The kid waves back. Then they're gone, and I'm back to waiting.

This goes on for years. Nothing else happens. There's not even an end. I just open my eyes eventually and wake up to a life that is maybe not so very different from my dream.